Australia’s shipbuilder Austal and Swedish ferry line Gotlandsbolaget have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a construction contract for the ‘Gotland Horizon X’ catamaran concept.

The ‘Gotland Horizon X’ is a high-speed aluminium catamaran that will utilise gas turbines in a combined cycle to transport up to 1,450 passengers, cargo and vehicles, between the Swedish mainland and the island of Gotland.

Under the terms of the MOU and proposed construction contract, the high-speed catamaran will be designed by Austal and constructed at the Austal Philippines shipyard.

Paddy Gregg, Austal chief executive, announcing the MOU said, “Austal is ready to deliver a catamaran that is not only the largest, longest, and most technologically advanced ferry design developed by the company, but also enabling Gotlandsbolaget to achieve their climate-neutral emissions targets.

“The ‘Gotland Horizon X’ is an incredibly exciting project that is going to redefine commercial ferry capabilities, with a multi-fuel and hydrogen capable combined cycle powerplant and a class-leading, efficient hull design; leading the transition to decarbonisation of commercial ferries.”

Paddy Gregg added that “This MOU further strengthens our commitment to Gotlandsbolaget to deliver a high-speed catamaran that meets climate-neutral emissions targets, while also providing an exceptional customer experience for passengers.”  

Håkan Johansson, chief executive of Gotlandbolaget, noted: “Thanks to the developments made by our team at Gotland Tech Development in collaboration with Austal, we can now move forward in supplementing our existing fleet of larger passenger and cargo vessels with a high-speed catamaran.”

“We are diligently working on producing an attractive and winning tender to maintain responsibility for operating the ferry route between Gotland and the (Swedish) mainland. We are convinced that a high-speed catamaran can significantly enhance the traffic,” he added.